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3 Nephi 14:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Those were the words of our Savior Jesus Christ. In Zenos’ allegory in Jacob chapter 5, there is only one condition that exists whereby the vineyard becomes good, producing good fruit. And it occurs at the end as the Lord prunes away the corrupt branches “only this once.” (v. 69)

Jacob 5:73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

It is not until ALL the Lord’s covenant people have become equal that the vineyard is no more corrupt. Until then, as we read throughout the entire allegory over and over again in chapter five that the Lord labors with some very few servants that…

4…that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.

11…that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof…

53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof…

54…perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me…

59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil…

60…that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly…

The Master does not ever force the branches to grow or to bear good fruit. But He labors tirelessly with all His heart, might, mind, and strength to nourish us that perhaps He might preserve good fruit. He has never and will never force us to be good, or to do good. He will never force us to make ourselves equal in earthly things (D&C 78:5-6). That is up to us. The trees and branches are all going to be burned. What He wants is the good fruit. He wants those covenant people who do not enrich and exalt themselves as the lofty branches that have taken strength unto themselves and are good for nothing but to be cut down and cast into the fire. He wants those covenant people who can learn to have all things common among them (4 Nephi 1:3), where there are no rich and no poor. They are silently serving, doing good, anxiously engaged in a good cause, not needing to be commanded in all things, but of their own free will wasting and wearing out their lives in His service. His servants are few.

 

 

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